There was plenty at stake this week, and at the end of the round the ladder has seen some serious shuffling. There was a big upset, an overtime thriller and a team that went 2/2, showing just how much of a threat they are to the rest of the competition.
UC CAPS GET SECOND WIN IN OT
Not even a career high and huge double-double (33 points and 17 rebounds) from Steph Talbot could ensure a win for the Adelaide Lightning in their game against bottom of the ladder, UC Capitals. Neither team can make finals, but that didn't stop them from fighting with everything they had to get another win to their name.
It was all Caps for the first three quarters, playing with such confidence and effort, you never would have known they had only won the single game. Every player was ready to step up when their time came, whether it be playing clutch defence, hitting a big three or just putting their body on the line. For a team that was originally labelled as lacking depth due to the injuries they faced early in the season, this game showed how far they've come and how Kristen Veal has allowed her players to feel trusted and respected in their own game.
In overtime, Jade Melbourne showed poise that is unthinkable for someone of her age, leading her team to victory with a double-double of her own in 21 points and 11 assists.
DUCKS IN A ROWE
The highly anticipated WNBL game lived up to the hype, but maybe not in the way fans were expecting. After only one minute, the star of the show - Lauren Jackson, exited the game due to what has now been confirmed as a season ending Achilles injury. Despite this early disappointment, fans were still in for a tight contest between two teams in very different positions on the ladder. It was neck and neck the entire game, and nobody was surprised at the level of physicality.
Both Maddi Rocci and Tiana Mangakahia are known for being aggressive on offence and on defence, this game proved to be no different! Mangakahia should take a bow, as her tenacity and stamina to play 39 minutes without dropping any intensity, deserves high praise. She wasn't alone in earning the win though, but she lifted her team and forced them to all rise to her level.
The Sydney Flames' playing style can only be described as leaving no stone unturned with their never give up attitude. For them, no point is over, no game is out of reach, and nothing is made easy for their opposition. This was particularly evident in this game, even down to the last second, where Kiera Rowe held her ground (not literally) to force Kayla Thornton into a tough shot that didn't drop, leaving the Flames up by one point as the buzzer sounded.
FIRE ON FIRE
In a unique situation, the Townsville Fire and the Perth Lynx faced off twice in the same round. To make it more interesting, they were sitting next to each other on the ladder and these games had the power to switch up who finished the round in and outside the top four.
The Lynx had been on a roll and were proving they could compete with the best, all odds pointed towards them getting a win over the Fire, seeing as their two best players were out with injury. However, with the recent signing of Shyla Heal and some hot shooting from Karlie Samuelson and Courtney Woods, things were more of a battle than initially suspected.
Ultimately the Fire got the first win, the Lynx struggling with their offence, Robbie Ryan the only stand out. It was much of the same in their second match up of the round, another close contest, and this time the Lynx had found an offensive groove. But this time Steph Reid was back in the line-up and doing what she does best. Tianna Hawkins impact was important in both games, but particularly in the second where she recorded 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists. She was well supported by the other four starters who all finished in double figures.
The Fire have put the league on notice and have elevated to second spot on the ladder... imagine when Lauren Nicholson comes back!